Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Miles Wants To Be a Police Dog

One of the things Miles seemed to enjoy most at BBH were the demos put on by the Greenville County K-9 Unit. They were fantastic! Miles got very excited watching the police dogs attacking the guy in the bite suit. He was barking and whining and would have joined in if he could have. He wasn't the only one, there were quite a few normally non-aggressive greyhounds that wanted a piece of the giant bunny just because they saw other dogs doing it. Shows how the excited energy of a dog or two can influence all the other dogs in the area.

This is a photo of what the dogs get paid with. Just a piece of hose - that is it.

After one of the performances one of the officers gave one of these toys to Miles. Right away Miles jumped straight up chest high just like the dog in the photo above to grab it. He had been watching the police dogs doing it and did it exactly the same way. I don't think he would have even been interested in the hose at all if he hadn't seen the other dogs playing with it with such enthusiasm.

The hose is pretty tough but in a few seconds of chewing on it Miles had stripped a bunch of the rubber off of it. It is a special toy now that only comes out once in a while when we are playing together. He doesn't get to take off with it. The only problem is that he has started flying through the air to grab other toys in the same way now and a 70+ dog that leaps up and slams into you at chest high with the speed of a greyhound isn't something you really want. We have had to discourage his new police dog games.

What is really amazing is that these highly trained dogs only attack on command and are fine with the public and even friendly. Got my photo taken with one of them as proof.

Beach Bound Hounds

Our adoption group, Greyhound Crossroads, puts on a greyhound beach vacation called Beach Bound Hounds at the end of September every year. We have one entire hotel reserved in Myrtle Beach, SC and have overflowed from that into other hotels. We had around 500 greyhounds and their owners this year. We have seminars, demos, vendors, contests and even went to a dinner theater with our dogs this year for a show. It is a lot of work but we have a lot of fun too. BBH was Miles second trip to the beach. His first was to Sandy Paws in GA when he was 8 weeks old.

My friend Ann took some photos of us together on the beach

Yes he is nipping my butt!! Very gently though. He has very good bite inhibition from playing with this littermates his entire life.

Miles loves the water and the ocean was no exception. He kept trying to drink the water when he got hot like he does in our pool.

Miles attended his first wedding while we were there. Have no idea who they were.

Miles was safely on leash when all the pictures were taken. I removed his leash using Photoshop in a few of the better photos.

The sand was WAY too much fun! Running, digging and just being a crazy pup.

Miles did great at BBH. He was in a fabric crate in the hotel room when I wasn't there and was quiet and didn't try to get out. He never had one accident in the suite that I shared with a bunch of other people. Although it was part of the hotel it was so large it was very much like a house. Miles earned his Canine Good Citizen title while we were at the Beach. He also got a little trophy for winning the fastest speak contest in 9/100s of a second.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

8 Months

I have heard that 8 months is for greyhounds like the terrible twos are for young humans - very hard on the parents. So far so good. During the 8th month the only casualty was one leather leash that I left on Miles while in the van on the way home from our working vacation at Beach Bound Hounds. When we got home the leather leash was in two pieces. "Mom, I swear I thought it was a rawhide."

The pups jaws are much stronger all of a sudden. I can imagine that a pup without strict rules on what belongs to him and what belongs to the people could do some serious damage. Their sturdy chew toys are not able to stand up to the pups jaws now and I have been finding pieces laying around and have had to throw away several. Even cow hoofs are slowly disappearing one small bit at a time.

The growth rate of the pups has definitely changed. They are still getting a little taller but mainly are lengthening. Miles was very short bodied last month for as tall as he was. Now suddenly his back and body is long and more greyhound like. It is harder to keep weight on Miles at this age. He is probably ready to go to two meals a day because he doesn't eat as well in the evening if he gets a meal in the afternoon now. We do skip lunch sometimes but I still give it most of the time just to keep weight on him. Miles and Otto are definitely going to be tall boys and are already taller than most male greyhounds. They are nearly as tall as my other greyhound Streak that raced at 92lbs. Only a few of the tallest greyhound boys at Beach Bound Hounds were taller than Miles.

You can see how tall Miles is in these photos of Miles dancing and playing with Roy.

There are no outward signs of the boys hormones kicking in yet so the growth plates aren't anywhere near closing yet. They are likely to keep growing some. They will definitely put on muscle once the hormones kick in because they haven't been neutered. Miles probably only weighs around 70lbs. He is very narrow and tall without much muscle even though the pups run all the time. Like humans, pups just don't put on much muscle until their hormones kick in as they mature. The testosterone is what closes the growth plates in the bones too. The long bones are the last to stop growing and are likely to grow for too long if the dog is neutered early and doesn't have the testosterone to stop the growth at the proper time. Combine that with a lack of muscle to support the too long bones and you have a high performance dog that is prone to injuries.

Early neuter also multiplies the risk of bone cancer which is already way too prevalent in our breed. There are other risks to spaying and neutering dogs before they are mature. With greyhounds the growth plates may not close until 14 to 16 months so Miles will definitely not be neutered until sometime after that just to be safe. Here is some of the research I looked at when deciding when to wait to neuter Miles. All articles are research based and done by vets or scientists, not just random opinions on the web.
PDF: Long Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay Neuter in Dogs

I also took into consideration that my dogs never run loose and are always on leash or in a very secure iron and brick fenced yard. I do not own an unspayed female so there is no chance of Miles contributing to the pet over population problem. He follows rules and listens to us and has since he was tiny so I don't think that he will become unmanageable as his hormones kick in. The risks of waiting a few months to neuter seem very small in comparison to the health risks of spaying and neutering too soon.